APS Clarification on Walker Road Power Poles Project

APS met with some members of the community on March 10, 2023, to discuss the project.

During the meeting, APS said that they are still saying no buried lines. Most of the poles will be on west side of Walker Road. Lines will cross Walker Road only 2 times, as opposed to the previously staked 17 times. They will all be metal poles. The new line will provide redundancy whether buried or above ground.

After the meeting, Nick Wold reached out to Mackenzie Rodgers from APS (mackenzie.rodgers@aps.com) asking for some specific clarifications.

From APS:

Height above the ground? Average height above ground is 42 to 49 feet.

Diameter at the base? It will vary, if the pole is a tangent pole as in the wire goes perpendicular to the line the smaller 12-18” diameter poles will be used, but where we have angle poles in order to counterweight the wire we can either install wires to the ground or the cleaner option is to install a little bigger base pole that is the 36” to limit the wires and keep a cleaner look.

Material (all steel or some steel, some wood, etc)? All steel structure.

Finish? Weathered rust finish.

How many wires? Four APS wires; however, it is possible that in the future other telephone/cable wires could attach.

Approximately how far apart they will be placed? The average span length is 262 feet between structures

Example? There are some 12kv lines/poles along Smoketree Lane in Prescott, but the best reference is probably that the poles will be the same as those currently along Walker Road, except with a different finish that blends in with the forest.

Overhead Power Lines on Walker Road

APS has proposed installing overhead power lines on power poles down Walker Road. They will be next to the road from Costco to Hummingbird Hill Road.

These lines will replace the existing lines that come from Groom Creek, over the mountain and through the forest. The new lines will allow better access to them for maintenance.

APS has sent a letter explaining the proposal to some residents in Walker, but not all. You can download the original letter here: APS Letter

APS wants to keep costs down. Overhead lines are cheaper to install than buried lines, primarily due to the engineering costs upfront. Maintenance costs on buried lines is higher, when and if it’s needed.

Here’s a link to an APS document about buried lines: APS Buried Power Lines

Resident’s Concerns

A small group of Walker residents have come together to organize an effort to persuade APS to bury the line instead.

Our concerns include:

1. Forest Fire Danger from overhead power lines. While they are rare, the potential exists whenever there is a high power line near a tree in the forest.

2. Evacuation Danger if there were to be a fire on Walker Road. It would block your escape.

3. The Aesthetic Damage to beautiful forest that we live in.

4. Property Value Drop caused by the less appealing environment.

5. Additional Potential Traffic Obstacle in rain or snow. Better to run off into dirt than a steel pole.

Power Poles and Wildfires

By far, the biggest concern is wildfires started by power lines located near trees in the forest.

PG&E in California is an example of what happens when power lines are poorly maintained.

While APS does a great job of maintaining their equipment, the potential exists whenever there is a high power line near a tree in the forest.

PG&E is in the process of putting 10,000 miles of power lines underground for this very reason after their overhead power lines caused 1,500 fires over 6 years, including the devastating Dixie fire that burned 963,309 acres and 1,329 buildings. Read More: Business Insider

Here is a page on the PG&E web site describing the “undergrounding” process: PG&E Undergrounding Power Lines

Preferred Options

Correction – We previously stated that the APS proposal is for 69kV. That is incorrect, per my contact with APS.

The capacity is not being increased. APS has confirmed they are replacing the existing 12kV lines with new 12kV lines.

The issue now is using overhead power lines, compared to buried lines.

We agree that to bury power lines would initially be more expensive, but at a huge increase to safety.

Buried lines don’t start fires. It’s as simple as that. For a community that’s been evacuated twice in recent past, this is a priority.

We believe that the proper balance between cost, (both initial cost and long term maintenance costs), aesthetics, and safety, is to bury a 12kV line down Walker Road.

Planning Process

APS has been considering this plan for awhile. Because of the lower initial costs, they want to install overhead power poles. They have stated that the project won’t start work until Spring 2024. Before then, they will probably have a public comment period.

Projects in other areas of the state have found that by the time they got to the “public comment” period, their plan was in place and they followed the plan with little or no changes from the comments.

There are power poles down the length of Copper Basin road. Residents tried to stop their installation and failed. They started too late in the planning process.

We hope to have input now, earlier in the planning process.

Now is when decisions are being made.

Now is when we can make a difference.

Call To Action

Make your voice heard by the people who are making the decisions at APS, then tell a friend.

Please contact each of the people listed below. Be nice. Be polite. Be persuasive. Reference work order #WE016235.

APS Construction Outreach Consultant at MakPro
Teresa Makinen at (602) 421-3069, apsprojects@makprosvc.com

APS Public Affairs Manager
Darla DeVille at (928) 443-6614, Darla.Deville@aps.com

APS Northern Arizona Division Director
Mackenzie Rodgers, Mackenzie.Rodgers@aps.com

APS Project Engineer
Dusty Alook, dusty.alook@aps.com

Who We Are

If you want more information, or you want to get involved at a deeper level, feel free to contact any of the people below.


Rich Tupek rtupek2014@gmail.com – Resident
Tom DiCamillo vandtdicamillo@cox.net – Potato Patch HOA


Mark and Carla Keegan markandcarlakeegan@msn.com – WCAA
Stephanie and Steve Fredericks lawdoglodge@gmail.com – Residents
Loren Bykerk oldike@gmail.com – Walker FireWise
Nick Wold nwold@freewaynetworks.com Walker WiFi
Conrad Walton conrad@prescottrealestate.com Real Estate Agent


Chris Welker works for the Forest Service. Maintaining the forest’s visuals and landscape aesthetics is a very big part of the Land and Resource Management Plan. He is an advocate for a balanced solution. Feel free to encourage or thank him, if you want to.

Read the email he sent us.

Chris L. Welker
344 S. Cortez St.
Prescott, AZ 86303
Realty Specialist – Forest Service
Prescott National Forest